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In the Press: INMAN

New development transactions still pay real estate agent commission

As brokerages pivot to specialized buyers agent trainings meant to empower agents, new-home sales still provide plenty of opportunities for intrepid Realtors to earn real estate agent commissions, development specialist Hana Cha writes.

In recent weeks, the real estate industry has been buzzing about the National Association of Realtors’ landmark settlement, along with those of major brokerages nationwide. This has resulted in the spread of misinformation, adding to the industry’s uncertainty.

Yet, the untapped potential for buyers’ agents and new development sales remains an overlooked opportunity. This is a burgeoning market of new inventory, prime opportunity and full compensation for real estate agents.

Charing the future of buyers agents

The real estate industry will continue to undergo significant transformation in all aspects of this business. While real estate professionals grapple with changing practices, it’s crucial to identify untapped opportunities in all segments of this business.

The future for buyer agents look promising, especially in new development sales. Developers continuing to champion buyers agents through competitive commissions. The value of buyer-agent collaboration remains a key factor in the success of new development marketing and sales programs.

“Buyers’ agents have always been offered a 3 percent commission, and we plan to continue paying these commissions for the foreseeable future. We value the relationships built with the residential brokerage community,” Sam Brown, vice president of real estate assets at Ascaya, said. Ascaya is a luxury new home community offering custom-built homes and private homesites in Henderson, Nevada.

Offensive strategy in buyers agent training

In response to the legal turbulence, brokerages have initiated training programs to empower their agents to excel by wielding actionable strategies to highlight their unique value. Heavily focused on technology and buyer representation agreements, brokers are pressured to prepare a case of defense to ensure short-term sustainability for their buyers’ agents.

However, a gap exists in these training initiatives — a lack of emphasis on an offensive strategy for long-term growth. These ventures, often overlooked, offer fruitful opportunities within the buy-side of new development sales. Multiunit developers are committed to offering commissions to buyers’ agents, acknowledging the imperative role agents play in driving sales.

Chris Meany, managing partner at Wilson Meany and the co-developer of Yerba Buena Island, San Francisco’s top-selling residential development agrees, “We are pleased to pay our buyers’ agents co-op commissions. Our experience is that people who are shopping for homes at higher price points consult with a professional real estate agent.

“We want to make this process as painless as possible for our prospective buyers because the more expertise brought to the search, the better Yerba Buena Island fares. It’s hard to imagine a broker guiding a buyer to a project that doesn’t offer commissions.”

A strategic move of collaboration with developers

With the spring selling season upon us, the urgency for brokers to diversify their agents’ opportunities becomes evident.

Expanding an agent’s sales experience with new development transactions equips them with a broader skill set. It exposes them to a wider array of opportunities. First, enhancing their proficiency in handling new construction complexities, and then, refining their proactive marketing skills.

Most, if not all, new development projects continue to offer a real estate commission to outside agents representing new buyers. Brown adds, “If real estate agents are consistently bringing buyers and a developer stops paying buyer commissions, I would be surprised if this doesn’t hurt their sales velocity.”

The higher the budget, the more likely buyers are to approach home purchases with agent representation.

“Some innovators will use technology to streamline the sales process; however, technology-focused efforts to cut out middlemen will work best for commodity offerings. We are seeing sophisticated buyers willing to pay for quality and higher levels of service,” Meany said.

“I suspect developers offering homes to more discerning buyers will continue to make it easy for those buyers to get expert advice and offer commissions to buyers’ agents.”

Lean into Real estate agent commission opportunities

Elevating agent training programs to include diverse growth opportunities is essential. Introducing additional revenue streams by means of new development sales into these programs is a straightforward and impactful approach. Here’s how to put it to work in your business:

  1. Master your market’s new development inventory. Get acquainted with the new development projects and new home communities in your market. You can visit the sales gallery or make an appointment to preview. Make friends with the sales teams. Ask about sales processes, co-op programs and white-label marketing assets so you can personally market to your network of clients.
  2. Articulate the value proposition to your buyers. New projects typically offer several different home types, floor plans, and various services and amenities that appeal to different buyers and their unique lifestyles. Familiarize yourself with the project to effectively communicate its benefits to your potential buyers. Don’t forget to highlight key factors that resonate with the wants and needs of your clients.
  3. Diligently represent your buyers’ best interests. New development transactions usually require a different sales process and purchase documents. Ask the sales team to help you identify the key differences. Whether it’s financing requirements or complex HOA guidelines, get in front of the technical details and confidently navigate your clients through the buying process.
  4. Communicate proactively, and stop top of mind with your buyers. Many new projects do not publicly list all available inventory. Establishing rapport with project sales teams can give you and your clients early access to information on upcoming inventory and exclusive buyer incentives. Customize your outreach to provide your clients with timely and relevant updates in alignment with their search criteria.
  5. Register your clients, and secure your commissions. Most new development communities require an upfront broker and client registration. Registering your clients into their system early cements your relationship and confirms your eligibility for a real estate agent commission. In addition, this positions you for exclusive project updates, events and potential buyer incentives.

Riding the wave of new home demand

“Broker cooperation is key to the overall success of new developments and the ethos of our business model,” said Brian Krueger, senior vice president of Coldwell Banker Premier Realty, exclusively representing sales at Cello Tower at Origin, a new development community at Symphony Park in Las Vegas.

“We believe in the value of agents bringing qualified buyers to our development. We’re pleased to pay a real estate agent commission because of their efforts.”

Buyer’s agents have a tremendous opportunity to expand on their services. New development sales can position agents as pivotal facilitators. As a result, this proactive approach allows buyers’ agents to service their buyers and forge another layer of relationships with developers in their market.

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